Last night, I got home from work to find my husband sitting at the kitchen table on his laptop. Went up, put my arms around him from behind and kissed him on the cheek.
Then I caught sight of the screen.
There I was - in one of the Facebook pictures that caused this.
This picture was taken sometime last May. A Thursday night.
Had slept all afternoon and woken up feeling restless and depressed. K and I had had a fight earlier in the day because he didn't like something I said to his mother on the phone that apparently upset her.
First thing I did when I woke up was to call him. He wouldn't pick up. So I called his mother, had a short convo, apologized and casually asked her if K. was asleep. She said no, he was sitting out on the back porch smoking as she doesn't let him smoke in the house. Clearly unaware I'd already tried to call him several times, she said to go ahead and call him. I said ok, thanked her. And didn't try to call him again. I'd found out what I needed to know. He was awake and available and didn't want to speak to me.
Felt even worse. The depression turned into frustration and even more restlessness. Lying there, I had to sit up suddenly because I felt like I couldn't breathe lying down. I couldn't bear to be alone a second longer.
I got up, showered and changed in record time. Was already in the car when I started making calls to see where everybody was.
And so it was almost 11:30pm when I finally joined D. & F. at the club in Raha Beach. They were there with a big group of D.'s work colleagues. And it worked. The loud music, the dancing, the conversation - they helped me get out from inside my head. The claustrophobia and depression went away. I managed to forget about them for a little while.
Shortly after I arrived, I'd been standing with D. & F. telling them about how desperate I was for human company etc...We were practically shouting at each other to be heard over the loud music. And some guy behind me suddenly asked me to dance, using my name. I turned and he said he would be glad to offer me 'human company' all night. Clearly, he'd been listening in to our convo and caught both my name and that comment I made and interpreted it to mean I was some lonely woman out to pick up someone for the night or something.
I just couldn't be bothered to deal with that. So I just ignored him and walked off.
At about half past midnight, F. and her husband left. Then a little later, D. came to tell me that A. (her fiance and also my uncle) was coming to pick her up. She seemed to expect me to join them but:
1) Had sensed from earlier convo, those two needed to talk. Didn't feel like playing fifth wheel.
2) The last thing I needed that night was to be around a couple frankly. It would have just made me feel worse about not having my husband with me.
3) Had been there for less than an hour, wasn't sleepy and wasn't yet ready to face my empty apartment again either.
There was a bit of an argument when I told her to go ahead without me. She said A. would never let me stay on my own. And I knew she was right. After all, he is my uncle and he is an Arab and he definitely would not approve of my being out clubbing after midnight on my own with virtual strangers with my husband out of town. I asked if he knew I was with her. She said no. So I said fine, don't tell him and don't let him come inside. She tried to argue and I snapped at her about how just because she was going to marry my uncle, she shouldn't forget that she was my friend first and we always covered for each other. Or something stupid like that. Something she clearly didn't like because she walked off without another word.
Shortly after they left she smsed that since we WERE friends I should remember that she had to work with these people and they knew I was her friend and I should try not to embarrass her. I smsed back that I would try not to sleep with all of them before the night was out. That shut her up.
I'd managed to snap at my mother-in-law, have a screaming match with my husband and then alienate my best friend all in the same day. Terrific track record.
And so the only two people I really knew had left the party. But I am nothing if not a social butterfly. I managed to attach myself to three girls we'd been talking with earlier. We danced together, shared a greasy, bar-food meal when we got hungry and then went for a walk on the beach. They were nice girls. Quite a bit younger than me and heavy drinkers as you would expect but other than that, pretty nice and lots of fun. One of them spoke an amazing number of languages and was actually an incredibly interesting person to talk to even when drunk.
At around 3:00 am, when the club was getting ready to close, the girls told me there was going to be an after-party at somebody's place. There was some discussion within the group about whose house. I wasn't following because really what difference did it make? I didn't know anybody anyway.
Eventually, we left and headed to the after-party in what must have been 5 cars - including mine. None of the girls I was with drove - or was sober to drive even if she did have a car or a license - so I ended up the designated driver.
At the apartment, as soon as we walked in, the girls said they had to take off their shoes for a bit and have a smoke. I had pretty much the same needs by then. So the 4 of us sat on a couch, took off our shoes and put our feet up.
One of the guys had been running around all night with his camera. And he was suddenly infront of us, going on about how sexy we all looked and snapping pictures like crazy.
I didn't care. At that point, I'd decided I was going to finish my cigarette and leave. And I had no idea then how much pictures like that could come back to haunt you.
Then someone came up from behind me and placed something freezing cold on my right shoulder. I was in a slightly off-the-shoulder top so that really gave me a jolt. I turned my head to see the 'human company' guy from the club.
In the next instant, he was whispering in my ear something to the effect that as I was with 3 girls and not with a man so late in the evening, I clearly hadn't received a better offer than his so why don't I think about it?
I put out the cigarette, leaned down to put my shoes back on, got up, turned around, grabbed the glass out of his hand and threw as much of the contents on his smirking face as I could. Then I grabbed my bag and car keys and high-tailed it out of there.
I could hear him laughing from behind me as I walked out the door. I was standing waiting for the lift in the corridor outside when one of D.'s colleagues came after me, apologizing, asking me to come back (turns out he was the host), telling me he set that guy straight and he wouldn't bother me anymore, that the guy just didn't know who I was. I told him I appreciated the thought but that the last thing I wanted was for that idiot to find out who I was, that I just hoped I'd never have to see him again and that I was tired and needed to get home. He asked if I needed a lift home. I said no, I had my car with me. And that was that.
Fast-forward to last night. And that was the picture my husband was sitting there looking at.
Me sitting on the couch in the middle of 3 obviously very drunk girls, feet up, cigarette in hand, looking up at some guy who had his glass of something obviously very alcoholic on my bare right shoulder.
The whole thing could not have looked more sleazy if I had tried. And I have never felt more embarrassed in my life. I wanted to DIE.
Of course, we had talked about the whole partying and Facebook pics before. And we'd more or less cleared it. But he'd been overseas then. This was the first time I actually got a look at what he'd seen and what he'd been reacting to.
I let go and sat down on a chair next to him. I didn't know what to say.
Me: 7abibi, I am sorry you had to see this.
Him: Sorry why? I think you look pretty hot. I mean, I have no questions why this a****** would pick my very stupid wife out of all these women. I'm a lucky man. This is a great picture of you. You must be very proud of it.
There it was. The tone of voice that makes me feel like I'm something that just crawled out from under the rug. I never realized being told you're 'hot' could sound so insulting.
And no, telling myself I probably deserve it didn't help much. It still hurt like hell.
He slams the laptop shut, gets up, I see him grab his car keys.
Me: You're going out?
He doesn't answer. Just slams out of the house.
I suddenly felt so tired. Sometimes my marriage is such hard work. I went straight to bed, without even changing - and amazingly enough - I fell asleep.
I don't know how late it was when he finally made it home. I woke when he got into bed, next to me. Right away, I could smell the alcohol. First time since he came back. I didn't like it but it wasn't a good time to bring that up so I kept my mouth shut.
Me: Thanks for calling me stupid.
Me: K, I've never even seen that picture before.
Him: But you must remember when it was taken. You didn't have a blackout, did you?
Me: K, if one of us is a drinker, it's not me. And you know it.
Him: Oh so because I drink, I should just shut up right?
Me: I didn't say that. We're talking about something that happened months ago. And we've already talked about it. And I've said am sorry over and over again. And I've done everything you asked me to do since. I really don't know what more I can do to make it up to you.
Me: Do you have any ideas? What more can I do? Or am I just going to keep getting punished all over again everytime you come across a picture somewhere?
Me: Did you hear me? I'm talking to you.
Him: Who is he?
Me: What? Who?
Me: K, I don't know who he is. Some drunk guy at a party.
Him: Some drunk guy at a party.
Me: Yes, that's what I said.
Me: Are you asleep?
I didn't get much sleep after that. And when I got up pretty late this morning he wasn't home. He's still out and I don't know where he is because he's not answering my calls.
Sounds kind of like the beginning of this story doesn't it? Like the night I went to that party in the first place.
We had plans for last night btw. We were supposed to meet with some friends for dinner at a really nice new outdoor venue. So far this morning, I've had to suffer at least two calls from people telling me how much we were missed and how much fun they had and how sorry they were that we couldn't make it.
Great, just what I needed to hear.
Right now I am starving. I haven't had anything to eat since lunchtime at work yesterday. Lunch then was a club sandwich. Not nearly enough for me and the baby.
With the reception when I got home from work, I forgot all about dinner. I wonder if He had dinner while he was out getting drunk.
I wonder why I am not more upset this morning. This is not exactly the weekend I had planned.
Something has upset him and so now he's going to give me a hard time for a few days. He's mad at me for not being circumspect but mostly he's mad at himself for not being here and somehow taking better care of me so no other man would dare to even think about trying anything.
We've talked about this before. I told him I'd rather take responsibility for not being more careful and promise to behave better than have him think he is somehow duty-bound to protect me at all times. I've explained that men come on to women in that street, in the office, at the grocery store, not just at parties and that he simply can't take it upon himself to be responsible for my never getting harrassed 24/7, that it's much more practical for him to trust me to get myself out of these situations when they arise - which I do usually, as evidenced by the fact that I have managed to get this far in life without getting myself seduced or raped or whatever.
Nothing I try to say or do will make any difference though so I might as well not bother. He will calm down in his own sweet time and things will get better only when he's good and ready. Blah, blah, blah. Been there, done that sooooooo many times.
I have an appointment for another scan tomorrow. He wouldn't miss that. It wouldn't fit in with his self-declared role of Responsible Husband of The Year not to be there. So I'll see him then for sure. And he will have to be civil to me infront of the doctor.
Then who knows? We will have to see. Am actually more worried about the drinking now. That really can't go on.